British Journal of Political Science

Notes and Comments

Of Time and Partisan Instability in Britain

Paul R. Abramson*

Converse's ‘Of Time and Partisan Stability’ presents one of the most elegant theories in political science. Analysing the surveys collected in Almond and Verba's five-nation study, Converse explains the micro-level processes that can contribute to partisan stability among mass electorates. If, as Campbell, Converse, Miller and Stokes argue, partisan loyalties contribute to electoral stability, Converse's theory has important implications, not only for electoral behaviour, but for democratic political stability as well.


* Department of Political Science, Michigan State University. The data for the 1964, 1966, 1970, February 1974, October 1974, 1979 and 1983 post-election surveys were provided by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The data for the 1987 post-election survey were provided by the ESRC Data Archive, University of Essex, Colchester. These data archives bear no responsibility for my analyses or my interpretations. I am grateful to Harriet Dhanak of the Politometrics Laboratory at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, for her assistance with the data analysis. Ada W. Finifter, Evelyn C. Fink, Scott Gates, Brian D. Humes, Isaac I. Ihiasota, Ronald Inglehart, Charles Press, W. Phillips Shively, Brian D. Silver and Nicolas van de Walle provided helpful comments on earlier versions of this Note. The anonymous referees and Ivor Crewe also made helpful suggestions.